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Mississippi High School Activities Association
The story to date...
This is the information that we have as it has come to us. We hope this helps gives some focus to all of the discsussion
MS High School Players & Coach: WARNING!
MHSAA Rules Revision to Impact Players & Coaches Statewide
The Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) has recently voted to revise and enforce a rule [Section D(p)] limiting the number of players on a high school team that may participate on an independent team. An “independent” team includes any soccer team at any level whether D1, D2 or D3. The rule also prevents any high school personnel from coaching an independent team during the school year.
Why is this information important to MSA, its member organizations and their participants? The penalty for players is the loss of high school eligibility of all participants from the school that participated on the team. Players and coaches alike will have to choose between one or the other.
Does MSA agree with this rule? No we do not! Soccer has been included in a rule with basketball, baseball and softball. Soccer is a much different sport in many respects. The most serious difference being that select/club soccer is where players are recruited for college and beyond. Though the rule does permit independent teams to participate in summer league post season play through August, this is simply not realistic nor feasible for soccer in Mississippi compared to the other sports.
The most recent language of the rule is:
During the school’s sports seasons an independent team can be made up of no more than 50% of the number that make up the starting number of players for that sport from any one school. The penalty for this violation is the loss of eligibility of all participants from the school that participated on the team. School personnel cannot coach an independent team during the school year. NOTE: Only 4 players per school may participate on a baseball or fast pitch softball team, 2 basketball players, 5 soccer or slow pitch players, etc. Independent teams may participate in summer league post-season play through August." (i.e. independent team ... to include club team, recreational team, select team, elite team, all-star team). Applies to grades nine through twelve during the school year. Note: does not apply to grades seven and eight (grades seven and eight will be under the total control of the administration and coaches of a particular middle school).
MSA is encouraging all parents to get IMMEDIATELY involved in this and to encourage MHSAA to eliminate soccer from this rule or to modify it so that it does not have such a negative impact on YOUR children playing and our coaches. Contact your legislators, your MHSAA officials or whomever you can sooner rather than later.
Below is a link to a petition started in Pearl. MSA urges you to join this petition and to pass along to family and friends. Make our voice be heard.
History of MHSAA issues -
October 2005 - Parents had to bring the MHSAA before the State legislature because the MHSAA would not allow teams to attend Showcase Tournaments during Thanksgiving and Christmas Breaks. MHSAA agrees to allow teams to attend two showcase Tournaments during the “High School Season”.
October 4, 2006 – Three south district clubs’ high schools receive calls to their principals regarding player eligibility. HYSA has several players playing on the Oak Grove team, they are told that they could be declared ineligible. Pearl High School warns U16G rec team not to form or be ineligible.
Division I Vice President cancels MSA League games so as to insure that MSA players are not deemed ineligible according to the “finding” of the Lamar County School board attorney.
HYSA President/Coach mark Wilson and parent judge/attorney Honorable Jeff Stewart writes proctor requesting clarification. Proctor agrees to meet with him. (3) Read the letter, and read the (4) response from MHSAA.
October 9, 2006 – USYS Region III Premier League Director- (Mississippi) cancels Premier League Games so as to insure that MSA players are not deemed ineligible according to the “finding” of the Lamar County School board attorney.
Mark Wilson and Jeff Stewart begin phone call and letter writing campaign to state legislators. Download and (5) paste this letter in any e-mail to your State Senator. Write your own note if you’d prefer.
- Sen. J. Ed Morgan at email@example.com
- Sen. Mike Chaney at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sen. Alan Nunnelee at email@example.com
October 11, 2006 - Mark Wilson, Jeff Stewart and Honarable Judge Deborah Gambrell-Chambers meet via teleconference
After the teleconference the essence of the meeting seemed to indicate that a waiver from Dr. Enis Proctor will allow Division 1 Soccer to continue until the start of High School Soccer Play.
He further states that he understands that soccer operates differently from other sports. He will continue to allow teams to attend two showcase tournaments during the High School Season.
The MHSAA will hold a meeting on November 2nd to modify the current rule to remove the actual number of players allowed/disallowed so that the teams coach may determine the appropriate number of club players to start for his soccer squad. (6) Read the actual response to the teleconference meeting with Dr. Proctor.
This apparently clears the way for continued Premier League Play and attendance at the pre-high school season tournaments, as well as rescheduling of Mississippi Soccer League Games.
October 12, 2006 – Hattiesburg American article regarding the current situation. Oak Grove Principal Folks backs the players, Coach refuses comments and tells players to make no comments. Read the article (7) .
October 14, 2006 – Hattiesburg American Opinion piece describing the actions of the parties involved to date. Read the Opinion Piece (8)
October 17, 2006 – Dr. Proctor responds to a request for a written “memorandum of understanding” between the MHSAA and Mississippi Soccer players. Read his response (9) to a request for the signed memorandum.
December 4, 2006
In trying to get an update to the latest rulings by the MHSAA after their November Meeting, this letter was sent. (10) Read the request for update and then the MHSAA (11) response dated December 05, 2006.
What’s Next? These rulings do not specify of they apply to recreational players, 95% of the Mississippi Soccer Members, so there are still concerns. The MHSAA is due to meet on November 2nd, 2006. Write and call your High School Principal and Athletic Director and express your concerns and urge them to insure that your players rights to play are protected.